Kris Richard makes RML Chevrolet Cruze TC1 debut in Japan
Wellingborough (UK) – 30th October 2017:
Twin Ring Motegi in the Tochigi Prefecture held round eight of the World Touring Car Championship with a change to the driver line-up for the RML Chevrolet Cruze TC1s. Tom Coronel from ROAL Motorsport was joined by Kris Richard making his WTCC debut replacing Esteban Guerrieri for Campos Racing. The 22 year old Swiss driver won his one-off race appearance after winning the European Touring Car Cup in 2016. Guerrieri moves to Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, standing in for Tiago Monteiro who is recovering from a testing accident in September.
Sunday’s qualifying saw Coronel’s Chevrolet Cruze TC1 placed 14th while Richard lined up one place behind. Due to engine changes for home favourite Ryo Michigami of Honda Racing Team JAS and Nicky Catsburg of Polestar Cyan Racing, both drivers were relegated to the back resulting in Coronel and Richard starting their opening race in 12th and 13th respectively. Over the 11 lap round both Chevrolet Cruze TC1s moved up one position with Coronel finishing in 13th and Richard in 14th. Sébastien Loeb Racing driver Tom Chilton claimed victory with Yann Ehrlacher in second followed by Guerrieri.
Due to heavy rain the main race started behind the safety car for two laps until drivers were allowed to race. A total of four laps were completed before the safety car was back on track and on lap 11 of an extended 15 lap schedule the race was stopped with the countback result taking in the first nine laps. Having started out in 15th Richard made his way up the grid to finish 12th while Coronel climbed one place crossing the line in 13th. Norbert Michelisz of Honda Racing Team JAS maintained his pole position from the start to take the top of the podium with the two Volvo drivers, Catsburg and teammate Nestor Girolami, securing second and third position.
Coronel now falls to seventh in the WTCC Trophy Drivers’ Championship with 47.5 points, 0.5 points short of John Filippi in sixth, however remains 11th overall in the Drivers’ standings with 41 points. Richard is placed 12th in the Trophy Drivers’ Championship achieving three points during the weekend.
Next up, the WTCC returns to the Circuito da Guia street circuit after two years away for the Race of Macau in the Macau Peninsula in China, for the penultimate championship round on the 17th to 19th of November.